Colombia

Last updated on: 17 September 2014

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Colombia
Whether Specific law enacted: 
Yes
Number of people prosecuted: 
1 current
Number of people convicted: 
NA
Applicable law: 

CRIMINAL CODE OF COLOMBIA - Law 599 July 24, 2000. (Reformed - Unofficial translation)

Book II - Special Part - Title XIII - Chapter I - Of Crimes against Public Health

Article 368 - Violation of sanitary measures

Article 369 - Spread of epidemic

Article 370 - Spread of human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis B

Key wording in the law: 

CRIMINAL CODE OF COLOMBIA - Law 599 July 24, 2000. (Reformed - Unofficial translation)

Book II - Special Part - Title XIII - Chapter I - Of Crimes against Public Health

Article 368 - Violation of sanitary measures

Anyone who violates health measure taken by the competent authority to prevent the introduction or spread of an epidemic shall be liable for imprisonment for one (1) to three (3) years.

Article 369 - Spread of epidemic

Anyone who spreads epidemic shall be liable to imprisonment for one (1) to five (5) years.

Article 370 - Spread of human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis B

Anyone who, after being informed of being infected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B, makes practices by which he can contaminate another person, or gives blood, semen, organs or general anatomical components, shall be liable for imprisonment of three (3) to eight (8) years.

Original Spanish Version

CÓDIGO PENAL DE COLOMBIA - Ley 599 de 24 de julio de 2000. (Reformada)
Libro II - Parte Especial - Título XIII - Capítulo I - De los Delitos contra la Salud Pública

Artículo 368 - Violación de las medidas sanitarias

El que viole medida sanitaria adoptada por la autoridad competente para impedir la introducción o propagación de una epidemia, incurrirá en prisión de uno (1) a tres (3) años.

Artículo 369 - Propagación de epidemia

El que propague epidemia, incurrirá en prisión de uno (1) a cinco (5) años.

Artículo 370 - Propagación del Virus de Inmunodeficiencia Humana o de la Hepatitis B

El que después de haber sido informado de estar infectado por el virus de inmunodeficiencia humana (VIH) o de la hepatitis B, realice prácticas mediante las cuales pueda contaminar a otra persona, o done sangre, semen, órganos o en general componentes anatómicos, incurrirá en prisión de tres (3) a ocho (8) años.

Key Cases: 

Colombia: 4 December 2012: Man faces 12 years for ‘knowingly contaminating another person with HIV’ following police allegations of rape and consensual unprotected sex without disclosure.

An HIV positive Colombian truck driver is alleged to have raped and infected more than 50 women across the country after going on a ‘uncontrollable’ rampage. Libardo Rojas Duenas, 57, is said to have completely ignored state-issued medical advice after being diagnosed with the deadly virus in 2006. He was detained by police in the Gorgonzola area of the capital Bogota yesterday, Radio Sante Fe reported. He is being charged with both rape and ‘knowingly contaminating another person with HIV’. The latter crime alone is one that could condemn him to prison for up to 12 years. 

Source: http://www.hivjustice.net/storify/colombia-man-faces-12-years-for-knowingly-contaminating-another-person-with-hiv-following-police-allegations-of-rape-and-consensual-unprotected-sex-without-disclosure/#sthash.7Yi1Ovri.dpuf

Discussion: 

Article 369 of Colombian Penal Code although not being HIV specific, is applicable to the intentional or reckless transmission of HIV.

The article 370 specifically criminalizes the exposure to HIV.

The article 36 of Decree 1543 of June 12, 1997, (specific HIV Law) obligates people living with HIV in Colombia to inform their HIV status to sexual partner and health personnel. Like other legislation, there are contradictions between legal dispositions and the guarantee of confidentiality and the principles of non discrimination, that this obligation violates.

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Number of people living with HIV: www.unaids.org

Acknowledgement: We are grateful to Edgar Carrasco (ex-Director ACCSI-Human Rights Organization, Caracas-Venezuela) who provided most of the laws that could be potentially used.

Liga Colombiana de Lucha contra el sida - Ligasida

Fundación Vivir Mejor

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

Laws and regulations relating to entry, stay or residence in the country: 

We are not informed about regulations in this respect, but as information was provided by the embassy of Colombia in Berlin, we assume that it is accurate.

The Colombian Embassy in Brazil informs us that the Colombian authorities have never requested HIV-specific information from people entering the country.

Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required from people who have visited endemic areas.

The Embassy refers to the Public Health General Director in Bogotá.

For updated information, please go to: http://www.hivrestrictions.org

Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Male to Male relationships: Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: No law

Female to Female Relationships: Legal

Age of consent: Equal for heterosexuals and homosexuals

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: Equal/almost equal substitute nationally recognized

For updated information, please go to: http://ilga.org